What social screening is and how it can impact company hiring and firing – WAU

Social media has become an important tool in sourcing and evaluating job candidates. But social screening is a practice that has legal and ethical implications for companies and needs to be done according to strict criteria.

Social networks have apparently come to stay in the lives of 21st century people. This interaction space has an impact on social life, but it also begins to appear in the professional environment, as companies adhere to social screening in their HR practices.

For those who still don’t know what we’re talking about, this is the profile analysis of a candidate, or even a collaborator, through what he posts on his social networks. The laws are still unclear about this, but anyone thinking of adopting the practice needs to be aware of some points.

Are you curious about the subject and want to understand it better? You’re in the right place. Continue reading the post and find out!

Why do companies do social screening?

It is undeniable that social networks are part of people’s daily lives and have become an environment of more expression, interaction and dialogue. They have evolved so much, that there are now specific social networks for certain types of interaction.

LinkedIn, for example, was born with the purpose of being a tool for assist people in building their network. The network allows users to connect with experts of their interest – an opportunity to interact with professionals that, possibly, you would not meet in person.

For companies, this social network is also an interesting tool for the selection and hiring of professionals. In it, there is an immense database with people of varied profiles and from all parts of the world. This makes it easier to find the right person for a position.

Follow in the next topics the different uses that companies can make of social networks in the selection process.

What are some ways to use social media in the company’s HR?

There are several different ways to use social media analysis to assist in selecting and hiring professionals for the different positions within a company. Next, we’ll look at the main ones.

Talent Sourcing

Until the 1990s, it was common for the classified section of newspapers to bring several job openings from different levels and sectors. Today, however, this role has been assumed by the internet, on specific job search sites, but also on social networks.

LinkedIn is the main online vehicle where companies can look for professionals. Many headhunters start their research on this social network, because the user’s profile already brings useful information, such as training and previous experiences, as well as giving an idea about their networking.

LinkedIn recommendations are also another good clue for those looking to hire. The impressions of those who have had experience with the professional can give relevant information about the candidate’s soft skills.

Profile analysis

By analyzing the candidate’s profiles on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn itself, companies are able to better understand the profile of this professional.

The evaluation is more restricted when the accounts are private or when the user makes most of the publications in private mode.

However, there are many people who are not careful to change the privacy settings of their posts.

Thus, the HR of companies obtains valuable information about the candidate, which can be useful to know if he will integrate well with the company culture.

Benchmarking of good practices

The most up-to-date HR professionals follow experts in their fields from other countries and from competing companies on social networks. This is a form of professional benchmarking, to analyze what they are doing and be inspired by good practices.

What are some of the risks of using social media for hiring?

Although very practical, the use of social networks by companies can present risks to the organization. The issue is still far from consensus, but there is a great deal of debate over whether the practice is considered an invasion of privacy.

How far can a company go in using social media to evaluate its candidates and even employees? The issue is not yet resolved, and it is up to HR professionals to use an ethical stance when making this analysis.

The main risks for the company are from a process for discrimination or for invasion of privacy, depending on the use made of the nets.

What are the impacts on the company’s hiring?

The use of networks by the HR of companies already seems like a path of no return. At least those with a more professional profile, such as LinkedIn and task management platforms, such as Trello, are becoming the standard in most companies.

Whoever uses these tools or is thinking about starting to use them should be aware of some points so as not to incur unethical or even criminal practices unintentionally. Below are the main aspects that must be taken into account.

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Regulatory standards

London – like many other countries – does not yet have specific regulations on social screening and the use of social networks by companies.

However, the Federal Constitution and the CLT already give some clues as to what can or cannot be done, both in the offline and online world.

Our Constitution guarantees equal rights for all citizens and prohibits discrimination by race, color, religion, sex and sexual orientation, among other criteria.

Thus, obviously, none of these aspects can be considered in the classification or disqualification of a professional for a job vacancy. These aspects should not be addressed in the job interview, nor should they be the subject of social media screening investigations.

An analysis of search practices on social networks based on laws will provide information on the position the company can take when making use of networks in selection and hiring.

Profile analysis

If before all the profile analysis of the candidate was done through the curriculum and conversation in the job interview, with social networks the scenario changes.

Analyzing the candidate’s profile on LinkedIn, for example, the employer can better understand other aspects, such as that person’s network of contacts. In vacancies that require coordination with different market stakeholders, this can be a great differentiator for the candidate.

Invasion of privacy

The risk of invasion of privacy is something that must always be present and serve as a guideline for selection and hiring professionals. Even though there is no consensus on the subject, good practices in the HR area already have some trends.

LinkedIn, the professional social network par excellence, is a territory that has been widely explored by companies, including for social screening. The candidates themselves already expect something like that, especially when they are found through this network.

More personal platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, are the subject of many controversies. Some organizations choose not to enter this sandy terrain and avoid analyzing candidate profiles on these more personal platforms.

But there are companies that do not shy away from researching the profiles of candidates on these networks as well, based on the assumption that all material posted is public. In such cases, it is up to the professional himself to decide if he will keep his public profile, or if he prefers to close it only for his contacts.

Guidance for organizations that decide to analyze personal profiles is consult the legal department. Lawyers will be able to ensure that the company is not breaking any legal barriers.

Neglectful hiring

On the other side of the scale of the invasion of privacy is negligent hiring. Let’s take an example: suppose an employee has problems with violent attitudes within the company.

If that person’s social networks already had evidence of his aggressive personality at the time of hiring, the company may face a lawsuit for having neglected to hire this professional.

Transparent communication

One of the most important aspects for companies that do social screening is transparency in communication with candidates. From the beginning of the process, the company must make it very clear that social networks will be analyzed and taken into account in the evaluation.

In addition to saying that it will analyze the user profile on the networks, the company must also clearly point out which social networks it will analyze. Nor can the candidate’s assessment be conditioned to the analysis of the social profile.

With the information of which networks will be seen, the candidate can choose what he will make available for analysis and what he would like to keep private. After all, it is a person’s right not to wish to have certain parts of life shared with certain groups of people, such as potential employers.

When used responsibly and ethically, social screening can be a very useful tool for companies. The analysis of the social profile helps to better understand if the person will fit well into the organizational culture, which helps to reduce turnover.

Are you looking for other ways to reduce staff turnover in your company? Then read our post on the subject. We have several very good tips over there!